BERLIN Feb 5 The U.S. National Security Agency
(NSA) bugged the phone of former German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder from at least 2002, a German newspaper reported on
Wednesday, compounding the most serious row between between the
allies in a decade.
The reason for the snooping was Social Democrat (SPD)
Schroeder's opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq under
then President George W. Bush, the Sueddeutsche daily said,
citing U.S. government sources and NSA insiders.
"We had reason to believe that (Schroeder) was not
contributing to the success of the alliance," the newspaper
quoted one person with direct knowledge of the monitoring as
Reports last year about mass surveillance in Germany, in
particular of Merkel's mobile phone, shocked Germans and caused
Berlin to push, so far in vain, for a 'no-spy' deal with
Since then, it has been widely suspected in Germany that the
NSA had bugged governments preceding Merkel's but this is the
first concrete report that offers evidence and it stems from
information from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Schroeder, who headed a coalition with the Greens between
1998 and 2005, said he was no longer surprised.
"At that time I would not have entertained the idea of being
monitored; now I am no longer surprised," Schroeder told the
Germans are especially sensitive about snooping due to their
experiences in the Nazi era and in Communist East Germany during
the Cold War when the Stasi secret police built up a massive
network of surveillance.
Merkel said last week that Berlin and Washington were still
"far apart" in their views on the NSA's surveillance of Germany
but that they remained close allies.